Hello again! 🙂
It’s been really fun having three different teachers working with this awesome toddler class. We each bring our own unique strengths and ideas to the classroom which benefit your kids in a variety of ways. After having three weeks off from planning the activities I am really excited to try out some new fun things this week (and next week)!
Our focus has been on Tu B’Shevat – New Year (or Happy Birthday) of the Trees. It’s a day of environmental awareness in Israel and many new trees are planted on this day. The main concepts we would like the children to take from this are:
- I see different kinds of trees.
- I plant seeds and watch them grow.
- I sing about trees.
- I can help take care of the Earth. (More on this next week.)
- I taste new fruits from Israel (this will happen next Monday during our Tu B’Shevat seder).
We have read books about Tu B’Shevat during our indoor walks each day. We also spent our walk one day hunting for trees! We found many when we looked out the windows, but also saw them in the photographs and artwork in the hallways. Another day we went on a hunt for things in our building made from trees. We learned the material made from trees is called wood. We thanked the trees for our doors, picture frames, furniture, artwork, paneling, etc. It was a fun experience – toddler enthusiasm is catching. 🙂
We sang many rounds of Happy Birthday to Trees (you may have heard it at home as well) and sang songs about trees during our weekly music class as well.
Rather than planting trees (which grow slowly) we planted grass seeds in cute cups with each child’s face on the side. The idea is the grass will look like hair as it grows. For the older toddlers, they can also practice cutting skills once the grass grows long enough. For right now they enjoyed scooping the dirt (most of it went into the cups) and sprinkling seeds. They will help water their plants and watch to see them grow. The cups sure look cute!
We painted using the easels (painting is way more fun when done while standing). The finished painting was cut into their hand prints and used to create a Tu B’Shevat poster which is displayed outside our classroom.
For a few months now our favorite class book has been Little Monkey Calms Down. The toddlers are still making very good use of our Little Monkey Calm Down House. In the story the monkey gets so upset (and needs to calm down) because he dropped his ice cream out of his cone. This week, in the Big Room, we introduced a new large motor activity which was a big hit. The kids were given paper cones and balls to balance on their cones while walking or running around. They worked hard not to drop their “ice cream” like Little Monkey. The cones were actually a little too big so the kids had lots of success in balancing their balls. 🙂
Our new friend, Merlin, will be joining our class next week. He is moving up for the infant room and was able to visit our class this week. The kids were very excited to meet him and we know he will be a great addition to our classroom. Welcome, Merlin!
We were able to get outside once this week. The playground is a bit icy so we took the toddlers for a walk outside in the strollers. The fresh air felt fabulous and we were able to see all the different types of trees close up.
We tried a brand new activity during morning work time. We took photos of legos stacked together and had them printed. During the activity the kids each held their own lego piece shown in a photo. I then held up a photo and also the base of the lego stack shown. The kids were asked who was holding the other piece (or pieces) needed to finish the stack. The kids did great! They knew what was missing and could point at or say the name of the child holding the necessary piece. Those smarties!!! We will continue to work with them on this type of activity. There are many ways to continue to expand on this.
Our sensory table was filled with black bean “dirt”, scoopers, Pom-Pom “seeds”, little terra cotta pots, a watering can and pipe cleaner “sprouts”. The kids mostly had fun digging but we were also able to talk about planting seeds and what they need to grow.
This week we also started talking about the names of shapes during song time. We made pegboard stacks. Worked on puzzles. Did coloring sheets and many more fun activities! It really was a great week.
On Friday we will have Shabbat with Easton as our helper and free exploring time with playdough and lots of different items to stick in it or cut it with or put it inside of. It will be a time to play with it however they wish (as long as it stays at the work table). It should be fun (and messy)!
Thanks for sharing your amazing kids with us. We sure do think they are awesome little people!!
Ms. Katie, Ms. Aly & Mr. Benny
One last note:
We have started collecting Tzedakah (coins to be contributed to a worthy cause) and will use the money to buy trees to be planted in Israel. Please send in a small baggie of coins with your child which we will use next week in classroom activities.
Also we are in the midst of a book drive. Look for more information in the weekly update.